They don’t know. And, often — alarmingly so — they get it wrong.
By “they,” we refer to those who get paid large sums of money from NFL teams to study and project the careers of quarterbacks.
It is a prognostication fraught with peril, as no position on the field is filled with more swings and misses in terms of assigning grades and rankings.
The Giants are in the thick of it with Drew Lock of Missouri, Daniel Jones of Duke and, seemingly, to a lesser extent, Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, options for a team that owns picks No. 6 and 17 in the first round Thursday night.
There are those who point to Haskins’ Big Ten record-breaking 50 touchdown passes this past season as reason to believe. There are those who see Jones as an Eli Manning clone, down to the subtle mannerisms Jones brings to the field. There are those who see Lock as a gunslinger dude oozing with potential, and others who see him as a second-round pick.
It is believed the Giants do not have any of these quarterbacks ranked as one of the top five or six players in this draft, and general manager Dave Gettleman vowed he would not reach to find the heir apparent to Manning. The Giants will have defensive players and an offensive lineman or two ranked higher than the quarterbacks at No. 6.
So the spot to strike is at No. 17, where the Giants own enough draft capital — they have 12 picks this year and no desire to use every one of them — to maneuver up the board a bit in the first round, if need be, to land Lock or Jones. The widespread sentiment is Lock has a higher ceiling but is more boom or bust, while Jones is safer, and thus more of a middle-of-the-road prospect.
Jones is most often linked to the Giants, and there are reasons. He looks like Manning, was tutored at Duke by David Cutcliffe — Manning’s coach at Ole Miss — and possesses the sort of steady, low-key, professional demeanor the Giants franchise came to expect and adore in Manning for 16 years.
“I’m not sure how dynamic his arm is, but there’s a lot to like — even love, really,” an NFL talent evaluator specializing in quarterbacks told The Post. “My projection is he’s going to improve rapidly and have a high ceiling in the league. He’s kind of like the all-American boy.”
Others interrupt this ideal with a less-exciting vision.
“Jones is a very mechanical guy,” said Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads’ scouting service. “And Lock is too inconsistent for me. Some of these quarterbacks, people are way, way overvaluing.”
Shonka, who ranked Baker Mayfield the top quarterback in 2018, has Kyler Murray and Haskins as his top two this year.
“I wouldn’t even fool with anybody else, to be honest with you, after those two guys,” he said. “The rest of ‘em are going to be backup guys.”
The NFL talent evaluator likes Murray and Lock as the two top quarterbacks this year and would not take Haskins anywhere in the first round. The talent evaluator would not take Jones at No. 6 but sees him as a worthy successor for Manning, going as far as to say Jones, in some ways, reminds him of another quarterback in the family, and not older brother Peyton.
“He reminds me of Archie Manning, which is kind of funny,” the talent evaluator said, alluding to Eli’s father. “He has the legs, kind of long legs, and he knows how to protect himself.”
Lock, in the eyes of the talent evaluator, is unquestionably worth the No. 6 pick, even though he is “atrocious” with his mechanics in the pocket.
“He’s kind of like a casual gunslinger dude,” the talent evaluator said. “That’s kinda his mentality. There’s some flashes of urgency. He’s an effortless, flat-footed, flick-of-the-wrist guy. I mean, this guy’s a confident dude. He throws it like Aaron [Rodgers] throws in Green Bay. He can play through a variety of arm angles, like [Matt] Stafford does a little bit. But he has a lot of bad habits. He needs to be broken down and built back up that way. He’s way more raw than Daniel Jones.”